12 Tips for Winning at Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing is hot and getting hotter. Indeed, analysts predict that retailers will spend $2 billion on paid searches in 2003, representing a third of total online advertising spending. It will generate more than $10 billion in tracked online sales for e-merchants, with additional untracked spill-over revenue going to contact centers and retail stores.
Search engine marketing works because searches are how consumers find products today: 41 percent of online shoppers report finding retail Web sites through search engines, according to eMarketer’s March 2003 study. And it’s still a bargain, averaging 35 cents per click across the industry, compared to $1 per lead from Yellow Pages advertising.
Just as e-mail evolved into the Web’s killer application for customer retention, search engine marketing will prove the Web is a killer app for acquisition.
As Terry Semel, Yahoo’s CEO, told Business Week, “Now the search war is going to get bloody.” He’s right — the big players are jumping in because the channel works, and because there’s serious money to be made in it.
How can a smart cataloger use search engine marketing to drive profits? Following are 12 tips that can help:
Tip No. 1: Optimize your site for organic search.
In addition to paid search advertising, gain the best rankings you can in the free listings by using well-written title tags.
Use text links for navigation and internal-site linking. Provide a well-organized site map. Keep your URLs simple: Avoid session IDs in the path, and minimize URLs that appear dynamic. Make sure your site loads quickly, is never down and your HTML is well-formed.
Most importantly, complement your commerce with content. Provide as much well-written, well-organized writing as possible. Content is king when it comes to organic search. To begin, hire a reputable consultant to train your Web designers and programmers in organic search best practices.